Shah Mosque, Isfahan
In 1598, Shah Abbas moved the Persian capital to Isfahan. Here, he commissioned a remarkable sequence of ambitious and beautiful religious and civic buildings. But, because the only readily available building material in Isfahan was baked mud brick, there was a fear that, however grand, the new buildings would look rather dull. New techniques in firing coloured mosaic tiles, however, allowed the Shah's architects to revel in wondrous displays of decoration, brought to perfection here in the Shah Mosque (1612-38). Designed by the master calligrapher and miniaturist Rezza Abbasi, the blue, yellow, turquoise, pink and green tiles catch and reflect the light of this bright and hot city, animating cool spaces under the great blue dome of Abbas's mosque.